Friday, January 13, 2012

What I'm reading - 2012

I've been doing some eclectic reading of late - all different genres, all different formats. Here are the books I have been perusing of late:

Right now I am at different points in EACH of the following--

All the Women of the Bible by Edith Deen (hardcover - copyright 1955)

The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New Word by Paul Gilding (Hardcover - copyright 2011)

I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better: Six Practical Principles That Empower Others to Solve Their Own Problems While Enriching Your Relationship by Gary & Joy Lundberg (softcover - copyright 1995)

Extraordinary, Ordinary People
by Condoleezza Rice (Kindle - copyright 2010)

The Crystal Bridge by Charles M. Pulsipher (Kindle - copyright 2011)

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt (Kindle - copyright 1938)

Unleash the Power Within by Anthony Robbins (Audio - copyright 2005)

One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber (Audio - copyright 2009)

It's sort of interesting simultaneously reading/listening to all these different things. I have Tony Robbins in my car to listen to on my way to and from work. I have the Macomber book in the CD player in my kitchen and listen to that when I'm doing domestic stuff.

The Great Disruption is in the bathroom (by the way - did you know there has been very detailed research about who does or does not read in the john?).

I usually read the Women of the Bible book for a bit in the morning when it's quiet and I have yet to enter the fray of whatever the day will have in store.

I read Crystal Bridge at night before turning out the lights.

The Lundberg book on Not having to make everything better is something I'm reading as one of several sources for a class I'm going to be teaching on Marriage and Family Relations so I tend to read it in my office when I'm in school mode.

Both the Parley Pratt autobiography and the memoir by Condaleezza Rice are ones I pick up now and again to read a little bit of whenever to mood strikes me. I seldom read either one for very long - but I've enjoyed sampling them both.

I'm getting increasingly intrigued by the sci-fi/fantasy book, Crystal Bridge

Each one of these books has their place for me.

What are you reading these days?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Write - Mastermind Group

Today I attended my first "Mastermind group". Mastermind Groups can bring together people with any shared interest to support / challenge / provide feedback and expertise for one another. This particular group focuses on writing - the invitation was for "those who love to write, want to write or want to hang with people with the passion for writing." I like and respect the person who invited me and I had a flexible calendar this morning, so I decided to go. It was actually pretty interesting. There was a guest speaker from Borderline Publishing coming to share information with the group. From that I learned about some tips and tools I was previously unfamiliar with. Beyond that, I got to meet some interesting people and sparked some good reflection for me about my own process of writing and what it means to me.

I do not write fiction. Never have. But I do love to write. Publishing has not been my primary priority. I've dabbled in it a bit. I've had three articles published. First came The Tapestry Called Family in Ensign Magazine back in June of 1990. Next I had a piece called "Giving Sorrow Voice" published in Thantology, a journal about the academic study of death and dying. (I was teaching a course on Death and Dying at a community college in Michigan at the time.) Most recently (June 2011) I had article appear Slate, a publication of the Idaho School Boards Association. (My name appears as second author on that one since the politics of universities put bosses names first - but I know who wrote what.) That one summarizes a literature review on the link between mental illness and suicide.

Between those few rare appearances in print, I've written a lot of other work for other purposes. In a single day this past week I wrote a section of a grant application, a heart felt email, a lecture for my sociology class, and an outline for a Sunday School lesson. Each one called on different elements of my mind and spirit, tapping in to my intellect and creativity in a way that just talking about things never does. It's interesting that writing is given less legitimacy by most if it is not for pay and especially if it's not for a wide audience.

Yet those who write with passion (whether or not it involves any great skill) know something about the magic of the process and how it satisfies a part of us like nothing else ever can or will.

I have a work obligation on the day this Mastermind group will be meeting in February, so I'll miss that meeting. But I do plan to go back when I can. It felt good to be around the energy of men and women who put deliberate effort in to finding their voice, weaving their truths, even when it is clothed in the guise of created characters and plot lines. I also appreciated being in a group of folks who are stretching themselves to intentionally develop their talents, holding each other accountable to keep at it rather than falling into the pit of silently hoping for someday.

Writing matters. I don't have to have the ability or the dedication of a Pulitzer prize winner to acknowledge that. I don't know where this new association will take me, but it's a door I'm glad to have found and made the effort to walk through.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy 2012

I've been reflecting a lot on what it means to me to be starting a brand new year.
In some ways I think of it as utterly arbitrary - one minute it was 2011 and then the ball drops and we call it 2012, a silly human convention for cutting up the flow of time into component chunks to suit us.

Still, it's how we do things - so for what it's worth, I've been thinking about how I will approach this new year. I'm not making any long list of resolutions. Truth be told, most of those I've made in years past were forfeit by Valentine's day, if not sooner. However, while I am not setting specific goals, I AM striving to begin this new year with a bit more mindfulness.I am going to focus on EVERY day asking myself 2 questions -1) what can I do today to bring more health, joy, faith and abundance to myself and others? 2) What can I STOP doing today in order to bring more health, joy, faith and abundance to myself and others? I want to be as mindful as I can on a daily basis with out shoulding on myself.

I loved 2011. I'll admit to being a bit apprehensive of the year to come. But come what may - triumphs or challenges, I will do my best to approach it with gratitude.

Enrich Your Word Power!

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